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Texas Republican drops re-election bid after admitting to affair

Rep. Van Taylor was slated to advance to a runoff after falling short of the 50 percent needed in Tuesday's primary.
Image: Van Taylor
Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, listens during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on Sept. 22, 2020.Caroline Brehman / Pool via AP file

WASHINGTON — Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, announced Wednesday he was dropping his re-election bid after having admitted to an extramarital affair.

"Today I am announcing I will not continue my campaign to seek re-election to Congress," Taylor said in an email to his supporters. “I want to apologize for the pain I have caused with my indiscretion, most of all to my wife Anne and our three daughters."

"For months, Anne and I have been working to repair the scars left by my actions. I am unworthy, but eternally thankful for her love and forgiveness," he added. "Now, over the last few days I have started those same conversations with my three daughters who are the light of my life and deserve so much better."

Taylor's 3rd Congressional District covers parts of the Dallas suburbs.

The announcement came a day after Taylor fell short of the 50 percent threshold needed for an outright victory in Tuesday's GOP primary. The result meant he was headed for a runoff against Keith Self, the former Collin County judge, or chief executive, who finished second Tuesday.

"I have talked with Keith Self to let him know of my decision, and I wish him the best as he seeks to become the next congressman for this district," said Taylor, 49.

Taylor, who joined Congress in 2019, drew challenges from Self and other Republicans on his right for voting to certify President Joe Biden's presidential victory on Jan. 6, 2021 — and for his vote later in favor of creating a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol by a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters who were intent on stopping the certification.

The commission was never formed, but a House committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans is investigating the riot. The backlash dogged him throughout the primary campaign, with Self and other candidates saying they believed Trump was the true winner in 2020. There is exhaustive evidence that the 2020 election was safe and secure.

Taylor withdrew days after conservative sites, including Breitbart, published allegations that he had had an affair with Tania Joya, a Plano resident referred to by tabloids as the "ISIS bride" because of her past marriage to an American who joined the Islamic State terrorist group. Joya told Breitbart News that Taylor had paid her to keep quiet about the affair.

Joya confirmed the Breitbart story by text message but declined an interview request.

Self, the candidate who came in second behind Taylor, forcing him into the runoff, praised Taylor’s decision and said in a written statement that “conservatives who believe family values are the backbone of our nation are held to a high standard.”

Taylor’s move left the race’s third-place finisher, Suzanne Harp, with a question: What if she’s now in second place and in a runoff against Self?

“We are busily studying and reading the statute to see if there’s a runoff,” Harp said. “We’re really focused on that right now, and we’re looking at the law so we know which way is up.”

Whoever becomes the GOP nominee is likely to end up representing the Republican-leaning district, which Trump won 56 percent to 42 percent in 2020.